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Morbid Curiosity: Tomato Soup Cake

Every once in a very long time, I come across a recipe that looks suspiciously like it might be awful, and to my complete surprise, it ends up being phenomenally good. Tomato Soup Cake was one of those instances.

Doesn’t making a cake with tomato soup seem like a bad idea? It isn’t just me, is it? Because I thought Tomato Soup Cake would taste like marinara sauce with frosting on top. Instead, the ingredients magically transform into a moist and delicious spice cake, which I swear tastes nothing like tomato soup.

With most of the Morbid Curiosity recipes I choose, I’m pleasantly surprised when I come across one that I’d call “palatable.” It’s a rewarding experience when the end result can be described as ‘good’. But when that ‘good’ result is then covered with half an inch of cream cheese frosting? That calls for tears of joy.

Dry ingredients for cake being mixed by a small child.
My helper is mixing the dry ingredients for me.

Tomato Soup Cake (One Bowl Method)
2 cups sifted cake four or 1¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup shortening
1 can condensed tomato soup
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round layer pans. Sift dry ingredients together into large bowl. Add shortening and ½ can soup. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes (150 strokes per minute by hand). Add remaining soup and eggs. Beat 2 minutes more, scraping bowl frequently. Pour into pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand in pans 19 minutes; remove and cool on rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting or use your favorite white frosting.

Tomato Soup Cake shown with one wedge removed.
That's right... I'm taking Hipstamatic pictures of food now!

Cream Cheese Frosting
Blend a 3-ounce package of cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of milk. Gradually add 2½ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar; blend well. Mix in ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional). If desired, sprinkle top with maple sugar. Makes enough frosting for tops of two 8-inch layers.

A slice of tomato soup cake on a plate.
Bow down to my washed-out imagery!

The recipe featured in this post is from A Campbell Cookbook: Cooking with Soup. Published by Campbell Soup Company. Publication date unstated (but according to my internet research, possibly 1972).

By Jen R. L. Disarray

Jen was once described as a "culinary anthropologist". She liked that. When she is not making questionable foods, Jen enjoys reading, sassing, and lurking all over the internet. Jen has a blog called Maybe We Shouldn't Be Eating This, and she is a contributor to the Geekquality podcast and blog.

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